OAKLAND (BCN) — Friends of a man who died in a three-alarm fire early Saturday morning have set up a fundraising campaign for his memorial service.
The gofundme.com page, which was created on Saturday, describes Davis Letona, 27, as “a friend, a true dreamer, a brother, a companion, a filmmaker, a gentleman with the biggest heart.”
Called the “Guatemalan Jaguar of Oakland,” Letona was born and raised in southern California and moved to the Bay Area to pursue his passion, cinematography, according to the site.
The campaign is aiming to raise $8,000 in order to “help fund his memorial and also assist his family in getting to the Bay Area to celebrate his life.”
As of around 6:30 a.m. Monday, the page had raised $3,535 from 40 donors. A Facebook memorial page lauds Letona’s “famous cheesy corn” recipe and describes him as a “beautiful soul” and a “very kind and supportive guy.”
Letona was one of two men who were killed in a three-alarm fire in Oakland that displaced more than two dozen people, according to fire officials. The second man was identified by authorities as Daniel Thomas, 36.
Fire crews responded to a report of a smoke detector that went off in the 600 block of 24th Street shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday, Oakland fire Battalion Chief Geoff Hunter said.
Upon arrival, firefighters found smoke coming from a second-floor apartment unit, prompting a first-alarm response at around 3:20 a.m., Hunter said.
The blaze, which started in a large two-story apartment building containing six units, was soon upgraded to a second and then a third alarm as the flames spread from the apartment to a rear, adjoining building with 35 units, Hunter said.
The blaze was under control by around 4:10 a.m., Hunter said. All of the occupants were able to self-evacuate, except for the two people who died, Hunter said. As of this evening, the identity of the second man who died was not available.
About 30 people who were displaced by the fire received assistance from the American Red Cross, which opened an evacuation center at its office, located at 3901 Broadway in Oakland.
No other injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.